Dracaena (plant)

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Dracaena draco.jpg
Dracaena draco
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Dracaena
Vand. ex L.[1]
  • Acyntha Medik.
  • Chrysodracon P.L.Lu & Morden
  • Draco Crantz
  • Drakaina Raf.
  • Nemampsis Raf.
  • Oedera Crantz
  • Pleomele Salisb.
  • Salmia Cav.
  • Sanseverinia Petagna
  • Sansevieria Thunb.
  • Stoerkia Crantz
  • Terminalis Medik.

Dracaena (/drəˈsnə/[2] is a genus of about 120 species of trees and succulent shrubs.[3] In the APG IV classification system, it is placed in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoideae (formerly the family Ruscaceae).[4][5] It has also formerly been separated (sometimes with Cordyline) into the family Dracaenaceae or placed in the Agavaceae (now Agavoideae).

The name dracaena is derived from the romanized form of the Ancient Greek δράκαιναdrakaina, "female dragon".[citation needed]

The majority of the species are native to Africa, southern Asia through to northern Australia, with two species in tropical Central America. The segregate genus Pleomele is now generally included in Dracaena. The genus Sansevieria is closely related, and has recently been synonymized under Dracaena in the Kubitzki system.


Species of Dracaena have a secondary thickening meristem in their trunk, termed Dracaenoid thickening by some authors,[citation needed] which is quite different from the thickening meristem found in dicotyledonous plants. This characteristic is shared with members of the Agavoideae and Xanthorrhoeoideae among other members of the Asparagales.

Dracaena species can be classified in two growth types: treelike dracaenas (Dracaena fragrans, Dracaena draco), which have aboveground stems with a single cluster of leaves at the end of each stem and rhizomatous dracaenas (Dracaena trifasciata, Dracaena angolensis), which have underground rhizomes and leaves on the surface (ranging from straplike and moderately thin to thick and cylindrical).[citation needed]

Many species of Dracaena are kept as houseplants due to tolerance of lower light and sparse watering.[citation needed]


Plants of the World Online currently includes: [6]

Formerly regarded as dracaena[edit]



Some shrubby species, such as D. fragrans, D. surculosa, D. marginata, and D. sanderiana, are popular as houseplants. Many of these are toxic to pets, though not humans, according to the ASPCA among others. Rooted stem cuttings of D. sanderiana are widely marketed[by whom?] in Australia, the US and the UK as "lucky bamboo", although only superficially resembling true bamboos.


A naturally occurring bright red resin, dragon's blood, is collected from D. draco and, in ancient times, from D. cinnabari. Modern dragon's blood is however more likely to be from the unrelated Daemonorops rattan palms.[12] It also has a social functions in marking graves, sacred sites and farm plots in many African societies[13]



  1. ^ a b "Genus: Dracaena Vand. ex L." Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2010-01-19. Archived from the original on 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. pp. 606–607. ISBN 978-0-376-03851-7.
  3. ^ "Search results—the Plant List".
  4. ^ Chase, M.W.; Reveal, J.L. & Fay, M.F. (2009). "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 132–136. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00999.x.
  5. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
  6. ^ Plants of the World Online: Dracaena Vand. ex L. (retrieved 13 February 2020)
  7. ^ Engl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. (1902). "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Kew Gardens. Retrieved 30 Jan 2016.
  8. ^ exoten-garten (2009). "Dracaena ellenbeckiana (Kedong Dracaena)". exoten-garten.de.tl. Retrieved 30 Jan 2016.
  9. ^ Dave's Garden (2005). "Kedong Dracaena - Dracaena ellenbeckiana". Dave's Garden. Retrieved 30 Jan 2016.
  10. ^ Paul Wilkin; Piyakaset Suksathan; Kaweesak Keeratikiat; Peter van Welzen; Justyna Wiland-Szymanska (2013). "A new species from Thailand and Burma, Dracaena kaweesakii Wilkin & Suksathan (Asparagaceae subfamily Nolinoideae)". PhytoKeys. 26 (26): 101–112. doi:10.3897/phytokeys.26.5335. PMC 3817424. PMID 24194672.
  11. ^ Dracaena names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database.
  12. ^ "Fruit as source of red resin exuded between scales, used medicinally and as a dye (one source of "dragon's blood"): Daemonorops didymophylla; Daemonorops draco; Daemonorops maculata; Daemonorops micrantha; Daemonorops propinqua; Daemonorops rubra" Terry C.H. Sunderland and John Dransfield. Species Profiles. Ratans. http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/y2783e/y2783e05.htm
  13. ^ Sheridan M. 2008. Tanzanian ritual perimetrics and African landscapes: the case of Dracaena. International Journal of African Historical Studies 41 (3): 491–521.

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